Technology Explained

Black Screens Do More Harm Than Good on LCD Monitors

Joel Lee 04-12-2015

There are way too many monitor-related myths floating around, probable because monitor technology has advanced so quickly over the years. For example, “sit at arm’s length distance 4 Myths About LCD Monitors That Are Outdated and False LCD monitors have improved a lot over the years, but these myths and misconceptions just won't die. Read More ” and “screen radiation causes cancer Fact or Fiction? 6 Myths About Screens and Monitors How many screen-related myths have you heard? Does looking at a screen in the dark hurt your eyes? The truth might surprise you. Read More ” have both been debunked.


As it turns out, there’s yet another myth that no longer holds true: the myth that black screens conserve more energy. This just isn’t true for LCD monitors, and it hasn’t been for quite a while.


The myth comes from the days of cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors. Due to the way that CRT monitors work Everything You Need to Know About Television Technology Before the days of mobile devices and laptops, our entertainment needs were mostly filled by one source, the television. Read More , black pixels require no energy to produce, thus saving on electricity. Back then, this myth was indeed true, and back then, sites like really did reduce your PC’s power consumption 5 Ways To Reduce The Power Consumption Of Your Computer Read More .

LCD screens, on the other hand, produce light all the time. When an LCD screen needs to produce a black pixel, it just blocks the light from being shown and energy is being spent no matter what. In fact, on thinner LCD models, black screens actually end up using more energy!

So if you’re on an LCD screen, stop worrying. For those still using CRT screens, you may want to keep as your homepage for now.


Did you already know this? What other myths can you debunk for us? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Image Credits: Black Laptop by GaudiLab via Shutterstock, Black CRT Monitor by NorGal via Shutterstock

Related topics: Computer Monitor, Debunking Myths.

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  1. Rebecca
    December 12, 2015 at 9:31 am

    How can I find out which type of screen I have?

  2. Michael
    December 6, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Yes I find it misleading that the article does not touch on LED monitors. Which do not have back lighting.

  3. Bobmark
    December 4, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Sounds like a contradiction between Joel and Tektas. Can either of you point to authoritative sources to prove your point?

    • Joel Lee
      December 4, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Hey Bobmark, there's no contradiction. LCD screens and OLED screens are designed differently, and he's right that OLED screens use less power to show black pixels. Note that this only holds true for ABSOLUTE BLACK. If there's even a tiny dash of color, that pixel won't actually save energy.

  4. Bob
    December 4, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    But...but..I LIKE having a black background on my monitors...Not so bright and glarey, you know.

    • Joel Lee
      December 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      If you're okay with the tiny increase in energy used, go for it!

  5. Tektas
    December 4, 2015 at 11:26 am

    You may could also include, that even while LCD displays do still need the same amount of power for black pixels (or even more), OLED displays do indeed not light black pixels (because there is no backlight like on LCD displays, but subpixels with the basecolors which get lit up, what isn't needed for black pixels) and therefore indeed also save power, not just old CRT monitors.

    • Joel Lee
      December 4, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks for bringing that up Tektas. You're right and I should've made a note about OLED screens!